Adventurers are always ready for anything, right? At the drop of a hat you can plunge a hand into your trousers’ pockets and produce a utilitarian piece of gear. Like an implement to cut something, illuminate a dark corner, or even… buy a cup of coffee for a pal. Of course you can, but can you open a beer with your wallet? Store photos on your keychain? For those of you in need of an upgrade to your gadget arsenal we present the overland everyday carry gear guide. An ongoing series that provides a plethora of suggestions to help you level up in the game of life.
Overland Everyday Carry Gear Basics
Each day, no matter what is in store you probably have the same items in your pockets. Keys? Check. Cell phone? Of course. So what can you do to up your game and put the day ahead in a chokehold?
First, clear of a bit of real estate on a bench, desk or counter. Next neatly lay out everything you’re carrying at the moment (or that you typically carry). Third, take stock and think about your average day. Always asking for a pen? Opening beers on counter tops? You could probably use an everyday carry gear upgrade.
#1 A Durable Wallet (that Doubles as a Conversation Piece)
We’re a value-driven bunch at Expedition Wire. Constantly seeking out a reasonable balance between price and durability. Too many wallets out there fall into the hardly durable yet high priced category. They look great, but self destruct under the lightest measure of abuse. On the other end of the spectrum you can find some very low priced wallets that are almost indestructible, waterproof, and unfortunately look like they belong to a child.
So what should you look for in a wallet? We like simple. There are some awesome wallets available constructed of maps, titanium, sail fabric, and actual leather. Best of all; bust out a topographical map wallet in a coffee shop and about fifty percent of the time you’ll end up in a brief conversation. More importantly, as an overland enthusiast, you may find yourself winching a vehicle in rain soaked pants… make sure that your wallet can withstand a bit of abuse and moisture. We have three that fit the bill. Check out our EDC wallet picks.
#2 A Pen or Pencil
With the majority of the world moving farther away from checkbooks, letters, and the like it would seem logical to assume that writing implements would be all but obsolete these days. However, despite our affinity for all things digital the humble pen is still a great piece of gear to have at the ready. Need to sketch something out, do some back of the napkin math, or leave some words of encouragement on a poorly parked car? Here comes the good old ink stick (aka pen) to the rescue. But, don’t just use any old plastic disposable; get something compact, unique, and long lasting. They’re especially great to use on the physical maps you’re carrying (or should be carrying) in your adventure vehicle.
#3 A Well-Crafted Pocket Knife
For many of us, a pocket knife marks a key milestone in the journey to adulthood. The day an adult placed a Swiss Army Knife or Old Timer in our young hands we were no longer “too little.” We were officially big kids… with responsibilities and such. You didn’t know it at the time, but your first real piece of everyday carry gear was probably a pocket knife (pacifiers excluded). Unfortunately, as we aged many of us moved on to car keys, wallets and cellphones; leaving our trusty pocket knife stowed away in a drawer or closet. What a shame.
The adult you can vote, drive a car, and call mom from almost anywhere, but you can’t even sharpen a marshmallow stick or open a package. We sincerely hope that as a modern day explorer and adventurer, you’re not ill equipped. We hope our assertion that you’ve abandoned your trusty pocket knife is a bit off base. But, just in case we have hit the proverbial nail on the head we think you should reconsider. Get a knife, carry it everywhere you legally can, and be ready for anything life throws your way. That’s why we recommend that you find something that is as useful in the backcountry as it is in the city, on your days away from the trail. This list on The Brilliant Blade has some great recommendations. Also, check out everydaycarry.com’s article on straight vs. plain edged blades.
#4 A Small Flashlight
Coming home to a power outage or trying to find something important that just escaped into the dark recesses of the space between console and driver’s seat are reasons enough to make sure you’re never with our light. The unfortunate truth is; a flashlight is often the at the bottom of the list when we are shopping for everyday carry gear. Or worse yet, we buy something expensive and tacticool that’s a bit too cumbersome and it spends its days in the nightstand, unused.
That’s why we recommend first getting something small and reasonably priced. Something you’ll bring along every single day. Save the higher-end, blindingly-powerful stuff for later. Plus if it’s on your keychain, you’ll have it nearby for finding your tent’s zipper pull on those late night bathroom trips.
#5 A Pocket Tool or Multi-Tool
For years large multi-tools dominated the market and found themselves clinging to the belts of rugged men, handier than most. The most common multi-tools were essentially all metal Swiss Army Knives that concealed an impressive set of pliers. While those larger tools are still available, and very useful, we are fortunate to now have myriad choices when it comes to multi-tools. From clever little devices like those of Griffin Pocket Tool, to ch/o/ha‘s wallet transportable EDC card, to stalwarts like Leatherman’s Wave multi-tool; we’re able to choose a toolset to meet our specific needs. In addition to their many benefits; almost all have a beer opener and many will give you the ability to perform basic repairs.
More Overlanding Guides, Skills & Resources.
- Overland Essentials – Our picks for the skills and gear you must have to get started.
- Handheld Radios – Skip the CB, check out our page on choosing the right communication tool.
- Basic Gear – Things you’ll want and need beyond the items that will keep you safe and out of trouble.
- Camp and Kitchen – Gear to improve meal prep, sleep, and time spent in the overland campsite.